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Frederic the poet

Frederic. That’s the middle name of a poet/songwriter who I believe belongs in the very top class of those so engaged.

He has Bob Dylan’s skill with building thoughts, feelings, and pictures out of words, rhyme and cadence – but his voice is gorgeous and his musical skill matches his poetry.

His father used a stage name the same as the school principle or superintendent when I was a kid (yeah – I forget which). I can tell you without giving it away – Lee Sims.

His view of the world is romantic but doesn’t cross the threshold of maudlin or sticky sweet. Most of the time.

He is capable of making political commentary without being small or crass. Most of the time.

Who else occupies this top tier of poets and singer-songwriters? Besides Dylan, I can think of Leonard Cohen… maybe Paul McCartney or John Lennon (or both, or neither)… Joni Mitchell? Roger Waters? I don’t know. But I do think that this fellow … or maybe John Denver… is the most underrated of the bunch. And, in terms of longevity – he may have outlasted all of them.

I want to thank Jesse B for the new trax that got me listening & thinking about Paul Simon again. So – yeah – you probably won’t read this, but thank you.

And a sample of my new favorite sticky sweet from Paul Frederic Simon… forgive the music video – it’s how do you call it? Lame… and forgive the static – I didn’t upload this one…

Oh yeah, oh yeah… One more. One more to show some of the depth beyond the sweet. If you want vid, you’ll have to watch this kid lipsynching a reasonble cover of it. You’ll miss the real treat from Simon’s recording, though… that’s the trumpet bridge. Tres sweet. The lyrics are fine by themselves… All-caps are not lyrics – they introduce characters…

LAZARUS
A passenger traveling quietly conceals himself
With a magazine and a sleepless pillow
Over the crest of the mountain the moon begins its climb
And he wakes to find he’s in rolling farmland

The farmer sleeps against his wife
He wonders what their life must be
A Trailways bus is heading south
Into Washington, D.C.

A mother and child, the baby maybe two months old
Prepare themselves for sleep and feeding.
The shadow of the Capitol dome slides across his face
And his heart is racing with the urge to freedom.

The father motionless as stone,
A shepherd resting with his flock,
The Trailways bus is turning west-
Dallas via Little Rock.

WAHZINAK
O my darling, darling Sal
The desert moon is my witness.
I’ve no money to come East,
But I know you’ll soon be here

LAZARUS
We pull into downtown Dallas by the side of the Grassy Knoll
Where the leader fell and a town was broken.
Away from the feel and flow of life for so many years
He hears music playing and Spanish spoken

The border patrol outside of Tucson boarded the bus

BORDER PATROLMAN
Any aliens here? You better check with us,
How about you son?
You look like you got Spanish blood.
Do you ‘Habla Ingles,’ am I understood?

SAL
Yes, I am an alien, from Mars.
I come to earth from outer space.
And if I traveled my whole life
You guys would still be on my case
You guys would still be on my case

LAZARUS
But he can’t leave his fears behind,
He recalls each fatal thrust
The screams carried by the wind,
Phantom figures in the dust
Phantom figures in the dust
Phantom figures in the dust.

2 comments to Frederic the poet

  • Arno

    Nice read! I’ve been blessed to have been a Paul Simon fan since early childhood. Don’t know why he is relatively overlooked, but he’s sure in the Pantheon.

    “It’s been a long, long day
    I’ve got some worn-out shoes
    Ain’t got no place to stay
    But any old place will be okay
    It’s been a long, long day”

  • jadarm

    Love the use of the minor 7ths…the vocals are polished.

    Smij, I havent heard of Lee Sims’ son before. Hope he isnt a “Richard” like his father is.

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